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Archie Cochrane's Publications

Archie wrote several poems during his time as a prisoner of war, which described his feelings about the terrible conditions forced on him and his fellow prisoners in the camps. The poems were later to be collectively published as Poems from Prison (Cochrane A.L. [Chepstow] C.P. Healey, 1974).

Poems from Prison Front Cover (Cochrane Archive)

A photocopy of Poems from Prison is held in the Archie Cochrane Archive Catalogue:

An original version of the book (only 60 copies were originally printed) is held by the British Library, London.

Effectiveness and Efficiency

Archie Cochrane's Rock Carling Lecture entitled Effectiveness and Efficiency was first published in 1972. Considered a seminal text for evidence-based medicine, its central argument - "that health services should be evaluated on the basis of scientific evidence rather than on clinical impression, anecdotal experience, 'expert' opinion or tradition"* - continues to have a profound influence on health services research and practice worldwide.

The volume was subsequently translated into several languages, including Japanese and Italian.

'Effectivness and Efficiency' Front Cover (Cochrane Archive)

In March 1999, a new paperback edition** was published. It contains an introduction by Professor Chris Silagy, who was the first elected Chair of the international Cochrane Collaboration, and a foreword by Dr (now Sir) Iain Chalmers (pictured below) Director of the UK Cochrane Centre in Oxford, the first such Centre to be established.

Sir Iain Chalmers
Sir Iain Chalmers

*Dickersin K., Manheimer, E. The Cochrane Collaboration: evaluation of health care and services using systematic reviews of the results of randomised controlled trials. Clinical Obstetrics and Gynecology 1998; 41: 315-31.

**Cochrane, A.L. Effectiveness and Efficiency: random reflections on health services. London: Royal Society of Medicine, 1999.

One Man’s Medicine

Archie Cochrane’s autobiography, One Man’s Medicine‡ was published in 1989, a year after his death. He chose a close friend, Max Blythe, to help him complete the work. Max Blythe was then a Principal Lecturer in the School of Biological and Molecular Sciences at Oxford Polytechnic, and a member of Green College Oxford. After Archie's death the volume was finished with additional contributions from other colleagues and friends.

'One Man's Medicine' Front Cover (Cochrane Archive)

In his Foreword, Sir Richard Doll wrote of the book, "It retains all of Archie’s idiosyncrasies and wit and makes the dramatic events of his early life, his scientific contributions, and his later battle against obscurantist members of the medical establishment as pleasurable to read as a well constructed novel."

‡Cochrane A.L., Blythe M. One Man’s Medicine: an Autobiography of Professor Archie Cochrane. London: British Medical Journal, 1989.

In the Forword of a book celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the publication of Effectiveness and Efficiency, the editors wrote: "This commemoration of Cochrane and his work charts some achievements during the past 25 years. As Cochrane would have expected, however, all of the contributions to the book also present challenges for the present and the future. Much health and social care has yet to be evaluated; and much practice has yet to be changed to reflect the existing knowledge base."

INSRV - Non-Random Reflections Front Cover (Cochrane Archive)(Maynard A., Chalmers I. Non-Random Reflections on Health Services Research. London: BMJ Publishing, 1997.)